You may have heard horror stories about mistakes that happen in hospitals. You may even have experienced them.
And you may be familiar with the statistics:
- Up to 440,000 patients who go to a U.S. hospital each year for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, according to a Journal of Patient Safety report in 2013.
- That makes medical errors the third-leading cause of death in this country, following heart disease and cancer.
The actual range can be a lot of higher as a result of the tool accustomed live errors does not account for things like treatment that ought to are provided or diagnostic errors.
As shocking as these numbers are, they also don’t include less serious errors, which don’t lead to death.
Anyone World Health Organization has ever enjoyed time in an exceedingly hospital has in all probability witnessed these sorts or errors, as I did whereas staying with my sister, Marie, throughout her recent hospital confinement.
I will not name the Tennessee hospital wherever my sister underwent emergency surgery for a blocked colon, as a result of the sorts of things that happened there area unit probably typical of little community hospitals all over. And, supported a fast scan of the scores given to hospitals by hospitalsafetyscore.org, mistakes occur in each massive and little facilities alike. (For the record, the hospital wherever my sister stayed received a “C” from the website; one would hope for higher, however in emergencies, you do not perpetually have a alternative.)
What can you do?
In cases where you or a loved one must be hospitalized, one of the most important things you can do is have someone stay as an advocate and caregiver for the patient. This is very true for those that area unit too young or previous or disabled to talk for themselves. But, it’s useful for everybody, even somebody like my sister, who is a veteran of hospital stays and isn’t afraid to ask for the care she wants or needs.
In my sister’s case, her female offspring arrived shortly once her emergency surgery. Three weeks later, she continues to be by her facet, helping her navigate through recovery, wound care, ostomy management, physical therapy and preparation for chemotherapy and ongoing cancer treatments. I and different relatives additionally were there for the primary ten days, alternating outlay nights within the hospital chair by her bed.
Here are some of the problems we encountered:
Thankfully, Marie knew what medications she was supposed to be taking and on what schedule, because several times the nurses brought her meds she wasn’t supposed to get.
Meal tray mix-ups
After Marie’s unleash from social unit, her medico ordered a transparent diet for the primary few days then a soft foods diet. Her 1st 5 meal trays were fully wrong, stuffed with things she wasn’t imagined to eat. Since once did Salisbury steak and grilled deformity become “soft foods”? Once she was on a normal diet, her meal choices, which she selected to be easy on her stomach, were often ignored. Fortunately, family and friends helped get replacements for the inedible meals.
Slow nursing response
Because of her ostomy and her massive abdominal incision, my sister required a vessel for many days once surgeryâ€”and she required it ofttimes and desperately. When she buzzed for assistance to get on the bedpan, the nurses often didn’t show up. Her daughter or I had to assist. One significantly busy night, the nursing assistant did not seem for nearly four hours. (The pestered nursing assistant on duty that night told U.S. that the opposite assistant World Health Organization was imagined to work along with her on the seven p.m. shift had quit at 6 p.m.â€”and there weren’t a lot of replacements available on Super Bowl Sunday.)Â We became so accustomed to helping that we stopped buzzing and just tended the bedpan ourselves.
The worst event happened one morning once my sister’s ostomy bag came unsealed and commenced unseaworthy. She buzzed for help. After a 10-minute wait, I went trying to find a nurse. It took twenty minutes before somebody came, by which time my sister and her bed were a huge mess, and she was in tears, fearing that if the fecal matter contaminated her abdominal wound, it could cause potentially fatal sepsis.Â This leads to the next problem
Inadequately trained staff
The nurse who came apparently didn’t know how to clean and repack my sister’s wound, so she enlisted another nurse’s assistance. They did the simplest they may, however we tend to may see that they’d not clean the realm totally or packed the wound tightly, despite the agonizing two hours that they worked on my sister. When the hospital’s one wound care nurse arrived later that morning, my niece asked her to please check the wound packing. She found excretory product still below the wound dressing and had to re-clean and repack the wound.
Anyone who’s ever been in an exceedingly hospital probably recollects experiences like these: medico directions to the patient are not clear and she’s not up to asking queries. Doctors fail to enter orders into the electronic records in an exceedingly timely manner. Nurses do not offer meds on schedule, causing unnecessary pain. One shift does not tell consecutive shift what’s happening. A doctor needs to unleash a patient, but no rehabilitation facility is available. The list goes on â€¦ and it happens everywhere.
The workers members at this hospital were usually friendly and useful and certain doing the simplest they may, given the levels of staffing and training. But, i am extraordinarily grateful that my kinswoman can be my sister’s darling advocate and defender, and that I and others could help when needed. Marie’s personal medical practitioner visited her within the hospital nearly each day and served joined of her biggest advocates and a negotiator with the hospital workers.
My sister also is fortunate to have many, many friends. They called, sent cards, visited, brought food, ran errands and sent flowersâ€”so many flowers that her room looked like a floral shop. Marie received the best care possible, thanks in part to her family and friends.